Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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BLUE VELVET at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater tonight courtesy of Little Rock Film Festival and Arkansas Times

Blue VelvetTonight BLUE VELVET will be shown in downtown Little Rock.  David Lynch’s powerful and deranged 1986 classic is part of the Arkansas Times Film Series co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival.

Two other newspapers bearing the name “Times” have weighed in on this flick.  The Los Angeles Times has called it “the most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life” and the New York Times deemed it “an instant cult classic … one of a kind.” This movie has it all: mystery and intrigue, severed ears, PBR, Roy Orbison.

The screening will be held at Ron Robinson Theater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18 (tickets are $5).

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Shopping, Klezmer Music and Big Band Sounds all part of Butler Center fun tonight

holiday_concertCelebrate the season with holiday shopping at Second Friday Art Night in the Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Avenue, and holiday music presented by Arkansas Sounds at the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue, on Friday, December 12.

Second Friday Art Night will be held 5-8 p.m.

The Arkansas Sounds holiday concert will be held at 7:30 p.m.; the theater doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

At Second Friday Art Night, the Butler Center Galleries will offer hand crafted art by numerous Arkansas artists, perfect for holiday gifts. Refreshments will be served, and one-man-band Paul Morphis will play music in the galleries. Second Friday Art Night is a free, monthly opportunity to visit downtown Little Rock’s businesses, museums, and galleries for an after-hours gallery walk.

The Arkansas Sounds holiday concert in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater will feature Meshugga Klezmer Band and the Dave Rosen Big Band.

Meshugga Klezmer Band, now including Stephanie Smittle on vocals, has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, at venues such as Wildwood Park, the Afterthought Lounge, and Juanita’s Cantina, and at bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and Jewish food festivals since 1999. Klezmer music has eastern European Jewish folk roots and is characterized by its cantorial vocal style reminiscent of Jewish prayer.

Dave Rosen Big Band, a 17-piece band, will play Christmas and Hanukkah favorites with jazz and swing arrangements. Songs will include Jingle Bells, Let It Snow, The Christmas Waltz, and Christmas Time Is Here, made famous in the long-running Peanuts Christmas special.

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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ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap is 2014 CALS J. N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecturer

espnschaapArkansans love their sports! They probably discuss and cuss sports more than any other topic.  Therefore it is fitting that ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap will deliver the 2014 J. N. Heiskell Distinguished Lecture tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Avenue. Schaap will discuss his experiences in sports journalism at An Evening with Jeremy Schaap.

Clint Stoerner, former quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks, will introduce Schaap.  The event is free and open to the public. A book signing and reception will follow the program. Seating is general admission. Reservations are appreciated, but not required. RSVP to or 918-3009.

An ESPN reporter since 1996, Jeremy Schaap functions in a variety of roles at the network. He is a correspondent for E:60, the host of ESPN Radio’s The Sporting Life, and a frequent contributor to Outside the Lines, NFL Countdown, and College Gameday. His reports, interviews, and commentaries are regularly featured on SportsCenter.

Schaap has won multiple national Sports Emmy Awards and many other honors for his work, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award in 2012, and a National Headliner Award in 2007. He is the author of Cinderella Man, a New York Times bestseller, and Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics. In December 2013, Disney secured the movie rights to Triumph and enlisted Schaap for a consulting role on the film.

In addition to his contributions for ESPN The Magazine and, Schaap’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Time, the Wall Street Journal, and Parade.

As quarterback, Stoerner led Arkansas to a 2000 Cotton Bowl Classic victory, and went on to play for the NFL, the NFL Europe, and the Arena Football League.  He regularly appears on radio and television in Arkansas to discuss sports events.

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. Speakers and programs honor Mr. Heiskell’s commitment to excellence in journalism as well as his support of the library.

History of Arkansas State Fair focus of December Legacies & Lunch at noon

ark state fairThis month’s Legacies & Lunch program focuses on the Arkansas State Fair.

Numerous state fairs and livestock shows have been held in Arkansas since the 1860s.  The Arkansas Livestock Show Association has existed for 75 years. While early fairs promoted agriculture and tourism, these events struggled financially.  Following the social upheaval caused by the Great Depression, a group of businessmen, farmers and educators led by oilman T. H. Barton envisioned a new Arkansas economy not dependent on cotton farming.

Deb Crow, museum and archive director for the Arkansas State Fair, and Dr. Jim Ross, professor of history at UALR ,will share details about the fair’s rich history, including rare photographs.

Legacies & Lunch is a monthly program of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a division of the Central Arkansas Library System.  The program, sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council, takes place at 12 noon.  This month’s program will be at the Darragh Center of the main library.

Tonight at Ron Robinson – Big Piph and Tomorrow Maybe perform

bigpiph2Big Piph, an emcee formerly known as “Epiphany,” and Tomorrow Maybe, a full band including female vocalists, will perform an innovative hip hop concert at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater on Friday, November 21, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, general admission, and available online or at Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Ave.

Big Piph has performed with artists such as T.I., Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and Ne-Yo. Lindsey Millar of the Arkansas Times has described Big Piph’s style as “existential hip-hop that you’d want to party to.” Big Piph & Tomorrow Maybe play a unique fusion of funk, soul, and rock with a hip-hop foundation. They are currently crafting an “unplugged” EP, and Big Piph is heading up a fundraiser for Global Kids Arkansas to offer educational and hands-on experiences in foreign policy and global initiative to high school students in at-risk communities.

The concert is the latest in the Arkansas Sounds music series. 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.

Tonight at CALS Ron Robinson Theater – the documentary THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT

wjc10 huntTonight at 7pm, the  documentary THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT will be shown at the Ron Robinson Theater. The screening is free.

Well-known director, producer and Arkansan Harry Thomason, and Nickolas Perry’s incendiary documentary, based on the best-selling book by Gene Lyons and Joe Conason, offers a glimpse at the genesis of these partisan vendettas and explores the myths and truths behind the nearly ten year campaign to systematically destroy the political legacy of the Clintons.

Using previously unreleased materials, interviews, and revelations from both sides of the beltway, this probing work focuses on the smear campaign against Clinton from his gubernatorial days in Arkansas leading up to and including his impeachment trial.

Less of an advocacy film and more of an  treatise on the political power of the media and personal interests, The Hunting of the President offers a gallery of defeated politicians, disappointed office seekers, right-wing pamphleteers, wealthy eccentrics, zany private detectives, religious fanatics and die-hard segregationists, all chiming in discord from the tops of their soapboxes

The film is narrated by Morgan Freeman.  Others making appearances include Jonathan Alter, Steve Barnes, Paul Begala, Richard Ben-Veniste, Robert S. Bennett, Sidney Blumenthal, Max Brantley, David Brock, Joe Cammerata, John Camp, James Carville, Larry Case, Paula Casey, Joe Conason, Andrew Cooper, Gil Davis, Ernie Dumas, Jerry Falwell, Mike Gauldin, Howard Kurtz, Gene Lyons, Susan McDougal, Don Moldea, Robert Parry, Claudia Riley, Jeffrey Toobin, Bill Watt and Betsy Wright.


“396 Days: From Arkansas to America” to be screened at noon today

396daysAs part of the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center, the Central Arkansas Library System is showing a series of documentaries pertaining to the Clinton presidency.

Today at noon at the Ron Robinson Theater it kicks off with “396 Days: From Arkansas to America.”  This documentary short was directed and produced by videographer and local TV news director Randy Dixon for the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library. It chronicles the 1992 Clinton Presidential campaign from an Arkansas perspective. The project has received more than a dozen national and international awards.

Free admission.


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