Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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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.

Noon today, the Clinton School and Butler Center’s Legacies & Lunch present Justice Troy Poteete, executive director of the National Trail of Tears Association

PoteeteToday at noon, the Clinton School Speaker Series and the Butler Center’s Legacies & Lunch jointly present a program.  Justice Troy Poteete, executive director of the National Trail of Tears Association will speak at the Ron Robinson Theater.

Troy Poteete was appointed to the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court by Chief Chad Smith in 2007 and is the executive director of the National Trail of Tears Association, an organization he helped found. Justice Poteete also founded the Historical Society in Webbers Falls, Okla., served as executive director of the Cherokee Nation Historical Society, and was a delegate to the Cherokee Nation Constitutional Convention. In 2000, Justice Poteete was appointed executive director of the Arkansas Riverbed Authority, a tribal entity jointly created by the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee Nations to administer their interests in the 96-mile section of the Arkansas River between Muskogee, Okla. and Fort Smith, Ark.

The Trail of Tears was actually several trails.  Little Rock is one of the only cities (if not the only city) that members of all six relocated tribes passed through.  Little Rock’s emerging merchant class benefited from the relocation efforts as the Federal government paid for goods and services in Little Rock.

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.

Big Boo!-seum Bash Tonight

BooseumLogo_EventIt’s the 19th Annual Big Boo!-seum Bash, where kids can enjoy a safe and fun Halloween Thursday, Oct. 30 from 6 – 8:30 p.m.  Come out and trick-or-treat, play games and have fun at participating area museums!

There will be free candy and Halloween activities for all ages. Visit every participating location to enter in the drawing for a flat-screen TV or a $100 gift card!

* Arkansas Arts Center – 501 East 9th Street

* Historic Arkansas Museum – 200 East 3rd Street

* Little Rock Visitor Center at Curran Hall – 615 East Capitol Avenue
— Arkansas State Capitol will participate on site

* MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History – 503 East 9th Street
— Arkansas National Guard Museum will participate on-site

* Mosaic Templars Cultural Center – 9th Street and Broadway
— Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site will participate on-site

* Museum of Discovery – 500 President Clinton Avenue

* Old State House Museum – 300 West Markham Street

* CALS Ron Robinson Theater – 100 River Market Avenue

* Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center – 602 President Clinton Avenue
— Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will participate on-site


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