Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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CALS announces cancellation of tonight’s Heiskell Lecture with Jonathan Karl

Due to recent developments regarding the election of a new Speaker of the House, ABC News requires Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ chief White House correspondent,to be in Washington, D.C., and he is unable to present the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS)J.N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecture today.
In an email, Karl said, “The breaking news on the Capitol has forced me to be in Washington — I tried hard to avoid that but I was given no choice. In such a major breaking story, ABC News felt I must be there to report for World News Tonight and our other platforms.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to reschedule Mr. Karl’s presentation,” said CALS director Bobby Roberts. “We are very disappointed the lecture will not happen tonight. Journalists’ jobs are to cover current events, and important things are happening now in Washington, D.C.”

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CANCELLED – Jonathan Karl will present the CALS J.N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecture

jonathankarlJonathan Karl, ABC News’ chief White House correspondent, will present the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) J.N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecture on Friday, October 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave.
 The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the program. Seating is general admission. Reservations are appreciated, but not required. RSVP at, or 918-3024.
Jonathan Karl, ABC News’ chief White House correspondent, covers the White House forWorld News Tonight, Nightline, and Good Morning America. Karl joined ABC News in January, 2004, and has also served as the network’s Senior Congressional Correspondent, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Senior National Security Correspondent, and Senior Political Correspondent.
Karl has covered political campaigns in virtually every state and has reported from more than 30 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Sudan. He traveled internationally with the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense to cover topics such as three presidential elections, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the intelligence community, and Congressional reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Jonathan Karl’s extensive experience and political knowledge allow him to discuss foreign affairs, America’s role in the post-September 11 world, national politics, and current events with insight and expertise. Karl also elaborates on what he has learned as moderator and organizer of Sustaining Democracy, a series of panel discussions on America’s changing political landscape. In 2001, Karl won the National Press Foundation’s Everett McKinley Dirksen Award, the highest honor for Congressional reporting and in 2013 was awarded with a Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism award.
The Heiskell Distinguished Lecture is named for J.N. Heiskell, the longest-serving member of the Library’s Board of Trustees and editor of the Arkansas Gazette for more than seventy years. J.N. Heiskell was the longest-serving member of the Library’s Board of Trustees, serving from 1910-1972, and he served as President from 1950 until his death in 1972. Speakers and programs honor Heiskell’s commitment to excellence in journalism as well as his support of the library. Past speakers include Helen Thomas, Ernest Dumas, Walter Mears, David Pryor, Dexter Filkins, and John O’Hara.

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October 2015 2nd Friday Art Night!

2FAN logo Font sm2It is time again for Second Friday Art Night!

On the second Friday of Arts & Humanities Month, it is a great way to experience the richness the arts and humanities bring to Little Rock.  Among the offerings this month are:

Historic Arkansas Museum’s free opening reception of “Kat Wilson’s Layers”

Arkansas photographer Kat Wilson is widely known for her Habitats series inspired by the hard-working people living in her blue-collar Arkansas town. Wilson’s work has continued to evolve as she has exhibited across Arkansas at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Arkansas Arts Center among others, and across the nation through exhibitions in Reno, NV, and Chicago, IL. Her work has received national and international recognition.

In a new series, Wilson’s technical process of layering photographs draws out a painterly quality typically absent in the glossy surface of a photograph. Wilson gathers images from varying degrees, often pulling information in a complete 360. She then layers them in an effort to tell a broader story of the scene.


CALS Butler Center opening of “Photographic Arts: African American Studio Photography from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection”

This is the first exhibition of works from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection, featuring photographs of African American people, created in a studio setting during the 1860s-1940s. Many of the featured photographs were hand colored, which created artful and unusual effects on otherwise formal portraits.

Other exhibits at the Butler Center are “Disparate Acts Redux: Bailin, Criswell, Peters” – an exhibition created by three artists who have found community with each other during the past thirty years’ “Weaving Stories & Hope: Textile Arts from the Japanese American Internment Camp at Rohwer, Arkansas” – a collection of decorative patterns, landscapes, and still life compositions created on muslin and denim; and “Gene Hatfield: Outside the Lines” – an exhibition characterizing the life and vitality of his life’s works.


Christ Church opening of solo exhibit of mixed media works by Diane Harper.

Little Rock artist Diane Harper translates images from a military childhood into new works of art in painting, printmaking, and mixed media in what she calls a “posthumous collaboration” with her father. His was a colorful career as a forensic photographer in the U.S. Military Crime Lab, and later in the Arkansas State Crime Lab. He taught himself photography by taking volumes of photos of his family and their adventures together.

The driving motivation behind this collaborative work is not only for Harper to gain a sense of place, but to position herself behind her father’s lens to see how he saw her, his family, and the rest of the world

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Little Rock Look Back: Mayor W. E. Lenon, father of LR City Hall

OMayor Lenonn October 8, 1867 in Panora, Iowa, future Little Rock Mayor Warren E. Lenon was born.  He was one of eleven children of John D. and Margaret M. Long Lenon.

Lenon came to Little Rock in 1888 after finishing his schooling in Iowa.  He helped set up an abstract company shortly after his arrival.  In 1902 he organized the Peoples Savings Bank.  Among his other business interests were the City Realty Company, the Factory Land Company, the Mountain Park Land Company, and the Pulaski Heights Land Company.

From 1895 to 1903, he was a Little Rock alderman, and in 1903, he was elected Mayor of the city. A progressive Mayor, he championed the construction of a new City Hall which opened in 1908.  At the first meeting of the City Council in that building, Mayor Lenon tendered his resignation.  His duties in his various business interests were taking up too much of his time.

Mayor Lenon had been a champion for the establishment of a municipal auditorium. He had wanted to include one in the new City Hall complex. But a court deemed it not permissible under Arkansas finance laws at the time.  He also worked to help establish the first Carnegie Library in Little Rock which opened in 1912.

Mayor Lenon continued to serve in a variety of public capacities after leaving office.  In the 1920s, he briefly chaired a public facilities board for an auditorium district. It appeared he would see his dream fulfilled of a municipal auditorium.  Unfortunately the Arkansas Supreme Court declared the enabling legislation invalid.

In 1889, he married Clara M. Mercer.  The couple had three children, two of whom survived him.  A son W. E. Lenon Jr., and a daughter Vivian Mercer Lenon Brewer.  Together with Adolphine Fletcher Terry (also a daughter of a LR Mayor), Mrs. Brewer was a leader of the Women’s Emergency Committee.

Mayor Lenon died June 25, 1946 and is buried at Roselawn Cemetery.  Lenon Drive just off University Avenue is named after Mayor Lenon.

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Arkansas Sounds Gone By – a special Butler Center Legacies and Lunch today at noon

arkansas_swingerToday at noon in the CALS Darragh Center, “Arkansas Sounds Gone By” will be a special musical Legacies & Lunch program.  It will showcase songs about Arkansas or written by people from the state, drawn from the Butler Center’s Ron Robinson Sheet Music Collection.

Musical guests – including David Austin, Bob Boyd, Susan Gele, Dent Gitchel, Richard Hunter, Herb Rule, Stephanie Smittle, George West, and others – will perform songs from the famous fiddle tune “Arkansas Traveler” to Arkansas native Floyd Cramer’s big hit “Last Date.” Vocalists will be accompanied by piano and fiddle.

Learn about the remarkable variety of songs from or about Arkansas, about the extraordinary music collection donated by Ron Robinson, and about the Tin Pan Alley songwriters who created songs about Arkansas without ever visiting the state.

Legacies & Lunch, the Butler Center’s monthly lecture series, 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. For more information, contact 918-3033.

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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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My Favorite Banned Books

BBW15_518x800This is Banned Books Week.  Here are some of my favorite banned books.  Heck, they are some of my favorite books period.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Go to the Central Arkansas Library System or a bookstore and get a copy of one of these this week.  Or if you already own them all, read one this week.


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