Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Tonight as part of Arkansas Sounds – Brian Nahlen in concert

Arkansas Sounds celebrates the wide spectrum of Arkansas music and musicians.  Tonight, they are offering a concert in one of the newest CALS facilities – Hillcrest Hall on Kavanaugh.

Singer/songwriter Brian Nahlen, a Central Arkansas  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, released in February 2015.

The concert starts at 7pm at 1501 Kavanaugh (the wedge formed by Kavanaugh and Lee streets).  Admission is $5.

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Little Rock Look Back: Gen. Grant speaks in Little Rock but does not ride horse in Capital Hotel elevator

US_Grant_fOn April 15, 1880, former president Ulysses S. Grant spoke in Little Rock as part of his world tour. While here he made a couple of appearances and participated in a parade. It was Grant’s first visit to Arkansas either as a soldier or a politician.

At his outdoor speech, his remarks followed brief comments by Governor William R. Miller and Mayor John Gould Fletcher (erroneously referred to as John C. Fletcher in the Memphis Appeal story the next day). Grant’s comments were brief and flowery. He thanked Arkansans for a warm welcome, praised the future prospects of Arkansas and discussed the demise of what he termed “sectionalism” which was undoubtedly a reference to the division between the Union and and former Confederate states.

Also that day, Grant addressed a banquet in Concordia Hall (now part of the Arkansas Studies Institute complex on the Central Arkansas Library downtown campus). His was one of fifteen toasts that evening. It was simply “The United States of America, forever United.” He expounded briefly on the theme of unity of citizens from all states. He also discussed immigration noting, “All foreigners find a welcome here. We make them American citizens. After we receive them, it is but one generation until they are Americans.” He noted that he could speak much more on the topic, but that since he was but one of fifteen toasts and that there was to be music after each toast, “It will be to-morrow (sic) morning when we get through if we all take as much time as the subjects admit of.”

Not everyone was thrilled to have the former commander of the Union Army in Little Rock. The story goes that when he was parading down the street, some Little Rock women (in a display of Souther un-hospitality) sat in chairs with their backs to the parade route. But all in all, it appears to have been a successful visit for the man who was the only Republican in the 19th Century to win Arkansas’ Electoral votes.Grant arrived in Little Rock on the night of April 14 and lodged at the Capital Hotel. He undoubtedly enjoyed some whiskey and cigars while at the Capital. Grant had originally planned on departing in the afternoon of April 15, but Little Rock leaders pled with him to stay so that he could be honored at the banquet. He assented.

Incidentally, there is an urban myth that, while in Little Rock, General Grant rode his horse in the oversized elevator of the Capital Hotel.  This is a relatively recent story. The oversized elevator was not installed until the 1980s, over 100 years after Gen. Grant was a guest of the facility.

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Marking 150th anniversary of 13th Amendment – CALS will “Let Freedom Ring”

2014-06-21-13thAmendmentIn honor of the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) will join the Arkansas Civil War Commission in “Let Freedom Ring,” a ringing of bells 13 times at 13:00 (1 p.m.) on Tuesday, April 14. Staff and volunteers will ring bells and read the 13th Amendment.


  • Main Library, 100 Rock Street
  • Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, 401 President Clinton Avenue
  • McMath Library, 2100 John Barrow Road
  • Dee Brown Library, 6325 Baseline Drive

“Let Freedom Ring” honors the 150th anniversary of the amendment, and is a statewide initiative sponsored by the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The 13th Amendment reads as follows:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is part of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources.

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Baseball season is here – so is THE SANDLOT at CALS Ron Robinson Theatre today at 2

calsrr sandlotThe Boys of Summer have returned as Major League Baseball is back.  On a smaller scale, sandlot ball is also back.  To celebrate this, the CALS Ron Robinson Theater is showing the 1993 film THE SANDLOT this afternoon at 2pm.

The film is told through the perspective of Scotty Smalls, who is reminiscing on his first summer in Los Angeles. In 1962, Smalls moves with his mother and stepfather, Bill, to a new neighborhood, and struggles to make new friends. One afternoon, he decides to follow a group of neighborhood boys, and watches them play an improvised game of baseball at a small field, which they call the sandlot. Smalls is reluctant to join their game, as he fears he will be ridiculed on account of his inexperience. Nevertheless, he chooses to play with them.  After a rough start, in time, Smalls is accepted and becomes an integral part of the team.  The team has adventures and misadventures on and off the titular sandlot.

The film stars Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Brandon Quinton Adams, Grant Gelt, Shane Obedzinski and Victor DiMattia.  Adult roles are played by Denis Leary, Karen Allen and James Earl Jones.

The film costs $5 to see on the big screen at the Ron Robinson Theater.  Concessions will be available for purchase.


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What about BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S? See it tonight at 7 at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater

215px-Breakfast_at_TiffanysYou can’t eat breakfast at Tiffany’s, but you can enjoy the classic film tonight at the Ron Robinson Theater which presents the 1961 classic Blake Edwards film. (Be sure and pay attention to a passing reference to Arkansas, too.)

Based on Truman Capote’s novella, the film was one of Audrey Hepburn’s iconic roles.  Joining her in the cast were George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Martin Balsam, Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney.  The film features the famous song “Moon River” which Hepburn sings at one point in the movie.  The film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actress (Hepburn), Best Adapted Screenplay (George Axelrod) and Best Art Direction. It won the Oscars for Best Song – “Moon River” (Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini) and Best Score (Mancini again).

The movie starts at 7pm tonight. Admission is $5. Concessions are available for purchase as well.

(You may not be able to shop at a Tiffany & Co. in person in Little Rock, but you can see Tiffany stained glass at City Hall and the State Capitol, as well as other Tiffany furnishings at the latter.)

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Tonight at Ron Robinson Theater: FIGHT CLUB

fight clubThe first rule about watching Fight Club is that you DO talk about going to see the movie.  Tonight, the CALS Ron Robinson Theater will be screening this modern iconic film starring Oscar winner Brad Pitt and Oscar nominee Edward Norton.  (Hard to believe the film is 16  years old in 2015.)

Directed by David Fincher, it also starred Meat Loaf and Helena Bonham Carter.  Fight Club concerns an insomniac office worker looking for a way to change his life.  He crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more…

The movie starts at 7pm tonight. Admission is $5. Concessions are available for purchase, as well.

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Atticus Finch prevails in CALS March Madness Heroes vs. Villains Character Face-Off!

atticusThe man who has probably single-handedly inspired generations of attorneys was named the winner of the Central Arkansas Library System March Madness Heroes vs. Villains Character Face-Off!

Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch was the winner!

Atticus is a lawyer and resident of the fictional Maycomb County, Alabama, and the father of Jeremy “Jem” Finch and Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. Lee based the character on her own father, Amasa Coleman Lee, an Alabama lawyer who, like Atticus Finch, represented black defendants in a highly publicized criminal trial.

Book Magazine’s list of The 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 names Finch as the 7th best fictional character of 20th century literature. In 2003, the American Film Institute voted Atticus, as portrayed by Gregory Peck, as the greatest hero in American film.


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