Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Arkansas Sounds brings legendary Cate Brothers Band to Ron Robinson Theater tonight

cate_brothersArkansas Sounds music series brings Arkansas music legends The Cate Brothers Band to the Ron Robinson Theater stage tonight.  The band reunites for a special performance of their biggest and best songs.

Arkansas music legends Earl and Ernie Cate, twin brothers from Fayetteville, Arkansas, performed southern soul music in the mid-1960s at clubs throughout the South. Both are singers, with Earl on guitar and Ernie on piano. Since the mid-1970s, they have been prolific performers and recording artists of their signature blued-eyed soul and rock music.

At this special performance, they will perform their biggest and best songs, including their Top 25 hit, “Union Man.”

Admission is $20, the concert starts at 7pm.

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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KONG is King at CALS Ron Robinson Theater tonight in screening of 1933 classic

Before the ill-advised remakes and schlocky sequels, there was the original 1933 RKO classic KING KONG.  This movie defies genres: it is not really a horror film, an action film, or a romantic film – though it has elements of all three.

Tonight at 8pm at the Ron Robinson Theater, take the opportunity to enjoy the Big Ape on the Big Screen.  Admission is $5.

Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong and Bruce Cabot star in this film which used the tagline, “A Monster of Creation’s Dawn Breaks Loose in Our World Today!”  Though listed as a “Cooper-Schoedsack Production” neither Merian C. Cooper nor Ernest B. Schoedsack were credited as directors.  Cooper and Edgar Wallace did receive credit for conceiving the movie.  The film’s screenplay credits went to James Creelman and Ruth Rose, though Cooper, Wallace and Leon Gordon also contributed to the script.

This film helped make the Empire State Building famous with its climactic action sequence.

Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location; Skull Island. But he still needs to find a leading lady. This ‘soon-to-be-unfortunate’ soul is Ann Darrow.  No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out. Living on this hidden island is a giant gorilla and this beast now has Ann in it’s grasps. Carl and Ann’s new love, Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures and beasts.

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Revel in B-movie greatness at the Ron Robinson Theater tonight with 1987’s MIAMI CONNECTION

The CALS Ron Robinson Theater strives to showcase all types of movies: classics, action, children’s, fantasy, etc.  Tonight they add another genre to their repertoire with the 1987 B-movie MIAMI CONNECTION.

Admission is $5. The screening starts at 8pm.

So put on your sleeveless shirt, mousse up that hair, and come on down!

The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas tighten their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. Multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have had enough, and embark on a roundhouse wreck-wave of crime-crushing justice.

When not chasing beach bunnies or performing their hit song “Against the Ninja,” Mark (Tae Kwon Do master/inspirational speaker Y.K. Kim) and the boys are kicking and chopping at the drug world’s smelliest underbelly. It’ll take every ounce of their blood and courage, but Dragon Sound can’t stop until they’ve completely destroyed the dealers, the drunk bikers, the kill-crazy ninjas, the middle-aged thugs, the “stupid cocaine”…and the entire MIAMI CONNECTION!!

Life of longtime CALS trustee Ira Sanders topic of today’s Legacies & Lunch

SandersIraE_fToday at noon at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and Clinton School for Public Service collaborate on a special Legacies & Lunch.

James Moses, professor of History at Arkansas Tech University, will discuss the life of Ira E. Sanders, who served as rabbi at Congregation B’nai Israel in Little Rock for 38 years and was a legendary champion of social justice in Arkansas and throughout the nation.

Rabbi Sanders was a founder of Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind, the Arkansas Eugenics Association, and the Urban League of Greater Little Rock. He also served for 40 years on the Central Arkansas Library System’s Board of Trustees. James Moses is writing a book about Rabbi Sanders, to be titled “Life Fire Shut Up in My Bones.”

Legacies & Lunch is free, open to the public, and supported in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Programs are held from noon-1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided.


Little Rock Look Back: Adolphine Fletcher Terry

Photos from the collection of the Butler Center

Photos from the collection of the Butler Center

Adolphine Fletcher Terry was born on November 3, 1882 to former Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher and his wife Adolphine Krause Fletcher.

Raised in Little Rock, in 1889 she moved into the Albert Pike House on East 7th Street, when her aunt transferred the title to her father. That house would be her primary residence the rest of her life.  Her sister Mary Fletcher Drennan never lived in Arkansas as an adult after marriage. Her brother John Gould Fletcher spent much of his adulthood in Europe before returning to Little Rock and establishing his own house, Johnswood.

At age 15, Adolphine attended Vassar. She later credited that experience as broadening her views on many issues.  After graduating at age 19, she returned to Little Rock.  Her parents both died prior to her 1910 wedding to David D. Terry, which took place at what was then known as the Pike-Fletcher House (and today is known as the Pike-Fletcher-Terry House).

She is perhaps best known today for establishing the Women’s Emergency Committee in 1958 and for her subsequent deeding of the family house to the City for use by the Arkansas Arts Center.  But her entire life was based on civic engagement.

She was instrumental in establishing the first juvenile court system in Arkansas and helped form the first school improvement association in the state. She was long an advocate for libraries, serving 40 years on the Little Rock public library board.  Through her leadership, the library opened its doors to African Americans in the early 1950s. Today a branch of the Central Arkansas Library System (the successor the Little Rock public library) is named after her.  Another branch is named after her Pulitzer Prize winning brother.

Adolphine formed the Little Rock chapter of the American Association of University Women, the Pulaski County tuberculosis association and the Community Chest.

In 1958, when the Little Rock public high schools were closed instead of allowing them to be desegregated again, she called Harry Ashmore the editor of the Gazette and exclaimed, “the men have failed us…it’s time to call out the women.”  With this, she formed the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools. This group played a major role in getting the four high schools open the following year.

From 1933 to 1942, David Terry served in the U.S. Congress. During that time, Adolphine alternated her time between Washington DC and Little Rock. But she spent much time in Little Rock raising her five children.

After her husband’s death in 1963, she continued to remain active in civic affairs. In the 1960’s, she and her sister deeded the Pike-Fletcher-Terry House to the City of Little Rock for use by the Arkansas Arts Center upon both their deaths.  Following Adolphine Fletcher Terry’s death in 1976, Mary turned over the title to the City.

Adolphine Fletcher Terry is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery alongside her husband. Three of her children are also buried in that plot.  Her parents and brother are buried in a nearby plot.

Her son William Terry and his wife Betty continue to be active in Little Rock. Their daughters and their families also carry on Adolphine Fletcher Terry’s commitment to making Little Rock better.

Little Rock Look Back: J. N. Heiskell

At the age of 87, J. N. Heiskell in 1960.

At the age of 87, J. N. Heiskell in 1960.

John Netherland (J. N.) Heiskell served as editor of the Arkansas Gazette for more than seventy years.

He was born on November 2, 1872, in Rogersville, Tennessee, to Carrick White Heiskell and Eliza Ayre Netherland Heiskell. He entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville before his eighteenth birthday and graduated in three years at the head of his class on June 7, 1893.

His early journalism career included jobs with newspapers in Knoxville and Memphis and with the Associated Press in Chicago and Louisville. On June 17, 1902, Heiskell’s family bought controlling interest in the Arkansas Gazette. Heiskell became the editor, and his brother, Fred, became managing editor.

Governor George Donaghey appointed Heiskell to succeed Jeff Davis in the United States Senate after Davis’s death in office. Heiskell served from January 6, 1913, until January 29, 1913, when a successor was elected.

On June 28, 1910, Heiskell married Wilhelmina Mann, daughter of the nationally prominent architect, George R. Mann. The couple had four children: Elizabeth, Louise, John N. Jr., and Carrick.

In 1907, he joined a successful effort to build the city’s first public library. He served on the library board from that year until his death and was issued the first library card.  He also served on the City’s Planning Commission for decades.

In 1912, he was instrumental in bringing John Nolen to Little Rock to devise a park plan. Heiskell was also largely responsible for the location of Robinson Auditorium. When City Council members had competing locations, he advocated for the corner of Markham and Broadway. And kept at it until the site was selected.

In the paper and in his own personal opinions, he crusaded on a variety of progressive causes.  Perhaps the most famous was the Gazette’s stance in the 1957 Central High desegregation crisis.  It was for this effort that the paper received two Pulitzer Prizes.

Although Heiskell stopped going to the office at age ninety-nine, he continued to take an active interest in the newspaper. He began by having a copy of the newspaper delivered to his home by messenger as soon as it came off the press each night. Eventually, he switched to having his secretary call him daily at his home and read the entire newspaper to him. He operated on the premise that “anyone who runs a newspaper needs to know what’s in it, even to the classified ads.”

A few weeks after turning 100, Heiskell died of congestive heart failure brought on by arteriosclerosis on December 28, 1972. He is buried in Little Rock’s Mount Holly Cemetery.  Interestingly, he is buried in the same cemetery as two of his most notable adversaries: Governor Jeff Davis, and segregationist Congressman Dale Alford.

GONE WITH THE WIND on the big screen at the CALS Ron Robinson Theatre tonight

Gone with the Wind (1939) PosterAs God is my witness, you can see Gone with the Wind on the big screen tonight! And frankly my dear, you should give a damn!

The doors to the CALS Ron Robinson Theater open tonight (10/30) at 6pm for the 7pm screening of the 1939 Best Picture winner.  Filled with romance, action, and witty dialogue (as well as melodrama and some embarrassing dialogue too), this film was destined to be a hit before it even started filming.

Everyone who was anyone (and a lot of noones) auditioned to be in the movie.  It went through a plethora of directors and screenwriters before it was completed. But through it all, producer David O. Selznick used a steel fist to keep it on course.

Nominated for thirteen Oscars, it won eight: Best Picture, Actress (Vivien Leigh), Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African American to win an Oscar – and had to sit in the segregated section at the awards ceremony), Director (Victor Fleming – who only directed about half the film, having been brought in after it had started), Screenplay (Sidney Howard – who had died in a farming accident and became the first posthumous Oscar winner), Cinematography, Art Direction and Editing.

Admission is $5, with concessions available for purchase.




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